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Conversation with councillor David White

posted May 4, 2017, 5:57 AM by Heather Rainbow

"Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questionnaire.

        First, the confession, I am a lapsed cyclist. However you do not have to be a cyclist, to understand it's benefits, especially for young children. And it is not just exercising in the open air, that benefits. For most children, this is their first taste of independence, This leads to increased self confidence and self esteem.

 So we need to encourage more children into cycling. I appreciate what you say about, the need for more training, however there are many demands on taxpayers' money. We must protect what we have, as Hampshire County Council, are always looking to save money.

        The future of cycling? We must be realistic and accept that the majority of people are not going to give up their cars. Electric car technology although improving, is still many years away from replacing all fossil fueled cars. So we are stuck with cars, and the resultant air pollution for some years to come.

        To minimise car pollution, we need to keep car traffic moving, as this is when cars are emitting the least pollution. But we also need to provide safe routes for cyclists. But these cycling lanes need to be properly planned. Look at London, at great expense, they have restricted traffic flow to accommodate cycle lanes. So motorists sit in traffic jams, emitting noxious fumes, while cycle lanes are virtually empty. This just causes resentment.

 An example in Basingstoke, is the entrance to the Fire Station roundabout from the Worting Road. This was always two lanes, even before a busy supermarket opened, yet a cycle lane was introduced, throttling traffic down to one lane. I use this route regularly, I have never seen a cyclist in this lane, they use the pavement.

        One thing, that Hampshire County Council, must do is increase, the proper filling of potholes, these are lethal to cyclists. In conclusion, we must do all we can to increase cycling, however we must realise, that cyclist and motorists, must coexist, and work towards mutual benefit. However, as always, we are restricted by lack of funds. Perhaps Company sponsorship could be the answer."

 Heather:

Thank you for  replying to the questionnaire and being so honest and forthright.

Secondly I respect your opinion on car versus cycle travel and accept most of your logic.  

In London most people do not keep or use a car because public transport is very good.  The average speed of car travel was only 12 mph, this was before there were any super cycle lanes.   Regular cyclists travel at a much higher average speed than 12mph. 

The new cycle lanes which I have followed in London have been heavily used.  They also have the support of large employers such as the major blue chip companies and the hospitals although the media mounted a campaign against them - negative news sells papers.

I totally agree with you that the bike lanes near the fire station are pretty useless, even if cyclists were removed from these lanes you would not get a car into a lane that narrow!  Unless bike lanes are sufficiently wide, of good quality and are continuous rather than short stretches they will remain a waste of money, not used, as neither useful nor usable.  (pavements are wider and pretty universal,  cars do not tend to use them unlike the bike lanes so pretty popular with some cyclists)    In London on the other hand you will find wide, continuous bike lanes which are heavily used and therefore reducing motor traffic congestion and a benefit to both cycle and motor travellers.  There has been a huge shift to cycling which also means less pollution which benefits everybody.  

Only if we have satisfactory infrastructure will a change to bike be possible, have a look at Denmark and Copenhagen as reported in the Guardian on https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/30/cycling-revolution-bikes-outnumber-cars-first-time-copenhagen-denmark.   In Basingstoke it is extremely inconvenient and difficult to travel  by bike so of course people will prefer their cars even if it is less healthy, it will remain that way until we have decent space for cycling.

Here are pictures of some of the rubbish that cyclists are expected to use https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2009/nov/05/readers-worst-cycle-lanes

thank you again for taking the time for sharing your opinions, ….

David White:

 Thanks for your comments. I must admit the picture of the cycle lane is impressive. The only pictures of cycle lanes in London, I have seen are ones that are empty, next to stationary lines of traffic. However, as always these days, most reporting, is selective biased as to the view you are trying to put across.

As for the Fire Station roundabout approach, I can assure you that before, it was 'messed about with', it had a proper two lane approach. And that goes back probably 25 years.

Anyway keep up your campaigning, and as you have reminded me of the joys and freedom of cycling, I might just get a bike.


What our county councillors will do

posted May 3, 2017, 2:14 PM by Heather Rainbow

We have been delighted with the response from candidates for the County Council elections.  They have all been keen to support cycling and have come up with suggestions and ideas.  Most people have never seen the ideal type of
cycle route except in Holland or Copenhagen.
If elected Brian Simmonds (obviously a keen cyclist) would like to contact us to discuss ways to improve cycling in Basingstoke, he goes out and about round Basingstoke on his bicycle quite often.
Lucy Sloane Williams would explore opportunities for developing permissive cross country routes with good surfaces.  She is whole heartedly in favour of allocating funding to education and support for cycling.  She would support funding for feasibility studies for new cycle routes especially rural routes.
Paul Kelly had a long list of what he would do from maintenance of cycle routes and providing free cycle racks for parking to cycle training and cycle promotion on Radio Berkshire.  He had a vision of Basingstoke with  Green status, just like Bristol, a Green City with some very useful cycle lanes like the one in Camden

Electing our Councillors and cycling on 4th May

posted May 2, 2017, 4:40 AM by Heather Rainbow

Will our new county councillors help us to cycle?
 
We were very impressed by Doris Jones  (see file below)
She would actively visit schools and businesses with advice on how to cycle to work and school.  She identified a source of money and  would lobby councillors and officers to make sure it was spent usefully on cycling

Ian Edney said as a new councillor he could not say HOW he could help but he did know what was needed, as he regularly commuted by bike into town and has argued at various transport forums for decent cycle routes to and across town
.
JP Taylor said that children should not cycle on roads and pavements and use cycle routes instead. Does he not know that almost all cycle routes are either on the road or the pavement?
He said  cycle routes were safe for people of all ages, we disagree -  there are no  cycle routes in Basingstoke that are fast, direct and safe,  for all  whatever their age or ability.  There are a few cycle routes like this in London but there are none in Basingstoke
 JP Taylor said
‘safe cycling must remain prominent in all our minds,’  - but he offered nothing concrete (no apologies for the pun) he asked cyclists to be respectful of other users.  He would repair potholes if there was enough money in the budget.
  
Anthony Jones was in favour of cycling,  but believed that providing money and space for cycling would  disadvantage car users and would increase congestion and pollution. 

This is untrue as shown by reports from Transport for London demonstrate reduced congestion and the  blue chip companies and large London hospitals favour cycle lanes to get their employees safely and efficiently  to work.  Most opposition comes from the media and small businnesses who believe that cyclists do not spend money in shops.  
Research has repeatedly shown that local businesses seriously overestimate the proportion of their customers who drive to their stores.  In fact, a number of studies from the UK and US, Australia and New Zealand have come to the conclusion that replacing on-street parking with a bike lane can boost business – and in the worst case has no negative impact:

Direct, Fast, Safe Cycle Routes to the 2017 May Elections

posted Apr 25, 2017, 2:38 AM by Heather Rainbow   [ updated Apr 25, 2017, 3:08 AM ]

Direct, fast safe cycle routes to the May elections.  We are asking candidates to sign up to cycle routes that are fit for purpose.  How will they ensure that there is funding to meet this need.  We do not want money thrown away on rubbish cycle paths. We do want more money from central government and the Hampshire Highways Authority.
Elaine Still ( has signed up to the national Space 4 Cycling campaign.

Read pro cycling replies from Andrew McCormick and Mike Westbrook below.
 
Andrew listed the main cycle routes we need and said that he would work with the Manydown project manager to obtain funding.
Andrew was all in favour of the county providing Bikeability level 3 and training for Mums, Dads and recreational cyclists.

"The main barrier to cycling is road safety. I would not recommend cycling on the Reading, Newbury, or Alton roads to anyone. They are death traps. " We at Cycle Basingstoke agree which is why we urgently need better and more cycle routes parallel to main roads.

We are very pleased that Andrew has the same priorities as Cycle Basingstoke:

"The 8 routes out of Basingstoke need separate cycleway provision adding: the A30 (London and Winchester), the A33, the A339 (Newbury and Alton), the A340, the B3400 and B3046. The Reading, Newbury, and Alton roads should be treated as priorities, they are too dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists to safely use. We have millions of pounds to be realised from the Manydown scheme to the west of Basingstoke that could be used to fund cycleways on the A339 and B3400, and other developments to the south west of Basingstoke that could contribute to the A30."

Mike Westbrook wants more and better cycle infratructure as this means better health and less congestion.  He has been working with schools to find routes that actually "connect".    He was " encouraged to see ... a local developer incorporate an internal route on the periphery of a development but running parallel to a busy main road."  Cycle Basingstoke is campaigning for direct cycle routes parallel to the main busy roads but buffered by a hedge or similar.  

Cycle paths fit for purpose

posted Apr 13, 2017, 1:31 AM by Heather Rainbow

Cycle Basingstoke is campaigning for cycle routes that are direct, fast and safe, suitable for all ages and abilities.  In March we met with leaders in the planning and transport department of the Borough Council.  We discussed with them a dossier of good and bad practice.  We want cycle paths which have a function, that you can use to go somewhere including your front or back door.  the path on the left goes to a childrens playground, it bypasses all the houses in Basingfield close and does not provide any alternative to the busy, narrow A30 on the right.  What was needed was obvious access points to a cycle path inside the hedge next to the A30, easy to find, easy to access, straight and direct, protected from motor traffic.  Too often cycle paths are decorative and serve no function or purpose. 
direct fast safe


 

Manydown Outline planning application

posted Mar 29, 2017, 10:55 AM by Heather Rainbow   [ updated Apr 13, 2017, 12:09 AM ]

CB will be replying to this on 31 March 2017.  We are disappointed that cyclists are treated as "eccentric pedestrians rather than non-motorised vehicles"
  • There is inadequate access to the site with no adequate provision for cyclists from Roman road, Worting road and the A339 the three main access points..
  • There are no access points to permit cycling to Overton station, Micheldever station  or to places East of Manydown such as Wooton St Lawrence, Sherborne St John or Tadley. 
  • A  3 - 4 metre footpath beside the main street is to be shared with cyclists, and another one along Winklebury Way.
Attached below are the main provisions for  cycling and we ask you to add your opinions on the cyclescape  discussion forum

Planning applications

posted Mar 23, 2017, 3:15 PM by Heather Rainbow

Planning applications are an opportunity to get the right infrastructure to make cycling possible.  We at Cycle Basingstoke regularly reply to planning applications.
On Thursday this week (23 Mar2017) we had a discussion with the Borough Planning and Transport department on how new developments could be more cycle friendly.  Attached are some of the pictures we looked at of good and bad practice.  We want new developments to be connected to the outside world by direct, fast safe routes.  As these are usually along/near busy roads, they need to be separated from motor vehicles and also pedestrians.  After all bikes travel between 3 to 10 times faster than walking, so if we are to make the most of this convenient transport method we need our own space.
Within developments we want it possible to get as directly as possible to whichever house, shop or school we are visiting.  Brighton Hill is great for walking, but the paths need to be wider and the junctions better designed for people to cycle on these paths and cutthroughs.  Have a look at our pictures

150 homes at Redlands on the A33

posted Feb 8, 2017, 2:09 PM by Heather Rainbow   [ updated Mar 18, 2017, 11:57 AM by Veronique Kerguelen ]


Cycle Basingstoke met with Borough officers and stakeholders on 7th February to discuss Supplementary Planning Document for East of Basingstoke and Redlands on the A33.

We asked for a cycle superhighway similar to those proposed in Cambridge and being built in London, that is a fast, direct convenient cycleway suitable for everyone from 8 to 80, whatever age, whatever ability, fast or slow, trike or bike.  This means physical separation from both motor and pedestrian traffic. 

The ideal position for a cycle link would be along the western border inside the development from Lillymill Chine, beside the A33 as far as Sherfield Park roundabout.
At the Development Control Meeting to-day (8th February 2017)  Cycle Basingstoke successfully petitioned the committee for quality cycle provision as part of the Redlands planning application.  If you want to tell us what you think go to our cyclescape page. or see the cycle route on openstreetmap.

Will Hampshire County Council abolish the Borough of Basingstoke??

posted Sep 16, 2016, 12:13 PM by Heather Rainbow

There are proposals to change the shape of local government in Hampshire.  Basingstoke and Deane could be abolished and become part of the North Hampshire Unitary, there are also other options, but they are all about losing local decision making in order to get central government funding for Hampshire projects - transport, education, social services etc.

There is a consultation so that you can have your say.  CB member Martin Biermann has written to the Gazette and Heather has drafted a reply to the County (HCC) for Cycle Basingstoke.  With 25 years of campaigning experience and links with campaigners throughout Hampshire she knows how difficult it is to negotiate with the County as it is so remote, it is much easier to work with the Borough as officers and councillors are familiar with local conditions.

Before you reply to the consultation I urge you to read Martin's letter (HCC Power Grab) and the views of the committee in our draft reply.  We do not want option 1a, 1b, 2a or 2b,  we want the Borough and its residents to have a say in what happens here.  That is the best way to get the cycle friendly infrastructure that we need.  The Borough not our County Transport Authority paid for feasability studies for urgent routes along the A30, the A33 and town centre.  The Borough  intends to pay for them to be implemented.

Pyotts Hill planning application to go to appeal

posted Aug 27, 2016, 10:31 AM by Veronique Kerguelen   [ updated Jan 30, 2017, 8:48 AM by Heather Rainbow ]

Plans to build more houses on Pyotts Hill on the NCN23 were refused 10 August 2016 at a Borough council meeting. Cyclists and residents argued that Pyotts hill and Long lane were both the wrong access routes for 9 new houses.

Cyclists were pleased that priority was being given to them on the long distance Sustrans route which goes through Basingstoke on its way from Southampton to Reading.

Heather liaised with local residents to put their case to councillors who then questioned them in detail.  There was fierce debate but the refuseniks won by just 6 to 5. The cycle route was saved.

January 2017  Disappointment - Developers will be appealing on this planning decision, so we wait with bated breath

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